We're nearing the end of our position-by-position rankings in Southeastern Pennsylvania. This week, we move to the defensive secondary and grade the cornerbacks.
In compiling this top-10 list, which we cranked up to 12, we took into consideration coverage ability, open-field tackling, skill at supporting against the run, and potential to succeed at the next level.
Please note that we did not include players we ranked among the best at their respective positions on offense. For cornerbacks, that group includes La Salle tailback Jamal Abdur-Rahman (three interceptions), Ridley wideout Dion Shaw, West Catholic tailback Brandon Hollomon, and Del-Val Charter receiver Brad Wilson.
Here are the top corners:
1. Daquan Cooper, George Washington, Sr., 5-foot-10, 165 pounds. In addition to four catches for 75 yards and a clinching touchdown, the Temple recruit made several big hits, including one that foiled a fake field-goal try, in the Eagles' 20-7 victory over Thanksgiving Day foe Archbishop Ryan.
2. Anthony Davis, Chester, Sr., 6-0, 175. Like Cooper, Davis, who also saw time at safety, was a two-way catalyst. He is hearing from Division I-AA Delaware and Villanova, and Division II West Chester.
3. Carl Walrath, Haverford School, Sr., 5-11, 175. Walrath, headed to Virginia for lacrosse, was as versatile as they come. He was also a running back, and could handle the safety spot equally well.
4. Marc Price, Frankford, Sr., 5-11, 170. A rock-solid cover guy, Price was key in the Pioneers' drive to a 7-5 record and the Public League Class AAAA semifinals. He finished with seven interceptions.
5. Mitch Helmandollar, Interboro, Sr., 6-1, 185. He showed his pass-coverage skills in a District 1 Class AAA playoff opener at Upper Moreland, making a late interception to help secure a 7-6 win.
6. Michael Downs, Archbishop Wood, Sr., 6-1, 185. Of his four interceptions, Downs, also a threat as a wide receiver, returned two for touchdowns, including a 26-yarder against St. Joseph's Prep.
7. Damiere Shaw, Cardinal O'Hara, Jr., 6-0, 165. The Lions are hoping to have the explosive two-way back, sidelined down the stretch with a concussion, on the field for all of next season.
8. Bobby Marterella, Neshaminy, Jr., 6-1, 160. Marterella, who also plays hoops, has been a lockdown left-side defender. For the season, he has 31 tackles and five interceptions.
9. Tyree Stone-Davis, Mastbaum, Sr., 6-2, 180. Stone-Davis was a two-way stalwart for the Panthers. On Thanksgiving, in a 16-0 blanking of University City, he threw a pair of TD passes to his twin, Tyrin.
10. Clint Passarella, Souderton, Sr., 5-9, 170. Passarella, a first-team all-Suburban One League Continental Conference selection, returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
11. Jay Watkins, Cardinal O'Hara, Jr., 5-10, 170. Watkins carried some of the load when the Lions were without the services of Shaw and fullback Brendan McLaughlin (ankle injury).
12. Taishan Tucker, Roman Catholic, Jr., 5-9, 160. A ball-hawking defender for the Cahillites, Tucker earned first-team all-Catholic League Class AAAA honors.
Twenty-five others to watch, listed alphabetically: Anthony Alimenti, Council Rock South, Jr., 5-9, 170; Lional Chapman, Harry S Truman, Sr., 5-9, 170; Sean Coleman, La Salle, Soph., 5-9, 160; Brian Dailey, Conestoga, Sr., 5-11, 165; Mike DeFeo, St. Joseph's Prep, Sr., 5-10, 175; Seth Ehlo, Central Bucks West, Jr., 5-10, 150; Dan Gevirtz, North Penn, Jr., 5-10, 170; Sean Gordon, Malvern Prep, Sr., 6-1, 170; Bobby Herbster, Garnet Valley, Sr., 5-10, 175; Anthony Jackson, Monsignor Bonner, Sr., 6-2, 185; Morgan Jackson, Plymouth Whitemarsh, Jr., 6-1, 170; Andrew Keys, Spring-Ford, Sr., 5-8, 150; Josh Lee, Abington, Jr., 5-8, 135; Adam Lewis, Pennsbury, Jr., 5-7, 145; D.J. Ludy, Pottsgrove, Jr., 5-11, 185; Mark McLean, Prep Charter, Sr., 5-8, 145; Nick Myers, Father Judge, Sr., 5-10, 170; Scott Nulty, Bishop Shanahan, Jr., 5-9, 175; Ryan Otis, La Salle, Jr., 5-11, 170; Gary Postell, Bishop McDevitt, Sr., 5-9, 165; Spencer Rymiszcwski, West Chester Henderson, Soph., 5-11, 160; Chris Stephens, Cheltenham, Sr., 5-6, 160; Denzel Thompson, Springfield (Delco), Sr., 5-10, 165; Michael Washington, Haverford School, Sr., 5-9, 165; Ryan White, Marple Newtown, Sr., 5-11, 180.
Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019